SSC 113 Man in Society
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Why do norms work?
- Normative Social influence
- Refers to social influence based on the desire to be liked or accepted by people.
- We conform so as to win the approval and acceptance of those people that are important to us.
- We fear being rejected by others; anything that increases our fear of rejection will increase level of conformity
- Informational social influence
- is based on our tendency to depend on others as a source of information about many aspects of the social world.
- It is social influence based on our desire to be correct and to possess accurate preceptions of the social world.
- Want to ascertain the accuracy of our own views actions or behavior and we often us others as a social barometer.
- We use opinions and actions of others as a guide for our own views and actions, and hence their opinions and action shape social reality for us and we will tend to conform.
- The more uncertain on the accuracy of something, the more we will conform.
- Justification of conformity
- A need to validate our actions in accordance to our beliefs.
- Decision to conform is followed by a change in perception of the fact; such changes are used to justify conformity
- Cultural influence also plays a role ,especially when the person comes from a individualistic culture where individual decision making valued. In a collectivist culture, the need for justification is less.
What are the factors affecting conformity?
- 1. Liking - Desire to please those that we like and gain acceptance. Level of cohesiveness or attractiveness influences conformity. High cohesiveness is associated with high pressure to conform.
- 2. Group size- the larger the group size, the greater the tendency to go along with decision, actions and behavior of other group members.
- 3. Type of norm
- Descriptive norms- describes what most people do in a given situation.
- Injunctive norms- those that specify what one ought Both sets of norms exert strong influence over behavior.
- Relevance and Salience of norms
- Both norms exert strong influence over beahvior, but in certain situations, injunctive norms have a stronger effect. This is because such norms shift the focus away from how people are actually behaving to how they should be behaving.
- Also, such, norms activate the desire to do the right thing, regardless of how others are behaving.
- Normative focus theory suggests that norms will influence people behavior only to the extent that they are salient to us at the particular moment that the behavior occurs. People will obey injunctive norms only when they think of them and see then as related to their own actions.
Why do we resist the need to conform?
- Most of us possess a need for individuation- for being unique from others in some aspects. The tendency to conform is culturally dependent- individualistic cultures tend to conform less than collectivistic cultures.
- There is a desire to maintain control over the events in our lives. Most persons want to maintain personal freedom and control over what happens.
- Minoritiy influences also explain why at times we resist the need to conform. Often, these member are consistent in oppositio, not rigid or dogmatic in view and consistent with social climate and trends. (pg 364 of readings for details.)
What is group polarisation?
Group polarisation refers to the tendency for groups to shift towards a view that is more extreme than originally intended. In group polarisation, the discussion pulls towards more extreme positions and individual group members exhibit more extreme attitudes and make more extreme decisions.
Why does group polarisation occur and what are it's implications?
- Social comparision effect
- Each group member wants to score higher than the others in the values that the group values e.g. want to be seen as more conservative than others.
- Information effect
- During discussion arguments presented are ones favouring group inital preference.
- Members hear more and shift their views towards the majority view
- More arguments out forth towards the prevailing majority view
- Increase in member's conviction that their choice is right.
- The implication of group polarisation is that it can lead to many decision making groups to adopt positions that are increasingly extreme and in turn make dangerous choices. This might lead to disasterious decision by politica, military or business groups.
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